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Businesses north of the border can no longer do without access to high-speed broadband, according to a leading think tank.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh said Scotland is now falling behind its international rivals on high-speed broadband, and this will soon translate into lost business productivity and competitiveness.

It claimed that the country needs £100 million in funding to create a fibre-optic backbone "akin to the trunk roads of our transport network".

"For reasons of social inclusion and equality of opportunity, Scotland cannot afford a widening digital divide," the Digital Scotland report said.

Professor Michael Fourman, Chairman of the report team, commented: "The Scottish government and Scotland's local authorities must work together to drive forward the digital agenda.

"They are the bodies that hold many of the levers to do so, such as planning regulations, procurement and business rates."

Last November, Liberal Democrat MP Danny Alexander branded the quality of broadband connections in the Scottish Highlands "a disgrace".

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